Do you love fresh basil but hate how it doesn’t last for more than a few days in the refrigerator? Well, you can freeze your precious basil leaves to enjoy them year-round. We’ll show you five easy ways to freeze and preserve basil leaves and explain the benefits of each.
1. Freeze Basil Leaves in Olive Oil
This is the easiest way to freeze your basil leaves, and it also helps basil retain flavor. Place a layer of fresh leaves on a flat surface, cover with olive oil, and then freeze. Once frozen, transfer the leaves to a freezer-safe container. This is a great way to freeze basil leaves quickly.
You can use the frozen mixture immediately or store it for later. The frozen leaves will keep in the freezer for up to one year. The benefit of this method is that you can use the basil leaves as they are, thawed or unthawed.
2. Blanching Fresh Basil
Blanching and freezing basil is an effective way to preserve both flavor and color. Blanch the basil just before you’re ready to store it in the freezer, so it stays fresh.
To blanch basil, drop the leaves into boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove them with a slotted spoon and then place them in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Once cooled, spin in a salad spinner or pat dry with a paper towel and then freeze in a single layer on a baking sheet. Once frozen, transfer the leaves to a freezer-safe container or bag.
3. Frozen Basil Leaves in Lemon Juice
Freezing basil leaves in lemon juice is an option if you don’t have any olive oil. Just be aware that the mixture may turn brown after a while, as lemon juice can cause discoloration over time.
To freeze your basil leaves in lemon juice, mix equal parts lemon juice and water in a blender or food processor bowl. Place the fresh leaves in the mixture and then freeze. Once frozen, transfer the leaves to freezer-safe containers or freezer bags.
4. Frozen Basil Leaves in Sugar
Freezing fresh basil leaves in sugar is a good option if you want to use them for baking or other sweet dishes. The sugar will help preserve the flavor and color of the leaves.
To freeze the basil leaves in sugar, mix one cup of sugar with one cup of water. Place the fresh herbs in the mixture and then freeze. Once frozen, transfer the leaves to a freezer-safe container or bag.
5. Freeze Basil in Ice Cube Trays
If you only need a small amount of basil for a recipe, freezing it in an ice cube tray is good. This way, you won’t have to thaw out many leaves just to use a few.
To freeze chopped basil in ice trays, place the leaves in the trays and fill them with water. Once frozen, transfer the basil cubes to a freezer-safe container or bag.
There are several ways to freeze basil leaves. If you harvest basil, experiment to find the method that works best for you. Frozen leaves can be used in any recipe that calls for basil. Enjoy!